Sunday, March 28, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 204 (Vol #3) Dated 28 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 204 (Vol #3) Dated 28 Mar 2010.

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the second para on page 948 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

86. In Tamil Kalamega Pulavar is known for his poems of variety of colourful hues, much intricate thought content, subtlety of nuances and play of words! He himself has claimed that before you can say 'mm', "I will pour out 700 to 800 couplets, like the cumulo-nimbus pregnant with tons of water, I am a 'Kaala Megham' that is 'a black cloud'!" What cannot be even thought of, are the sort of ever new ideas, that other poets of his time have challenged him with and he has gladly responded sportingly and won them all!

87. For us there is this one Kanchipuram, where there is this only one mango tree ('eka + amram = one mango tree') which gives mango fruits and also 'eka + amra +easwar = ekamreswar', the God Easwara with the single mango tree, like a close relative of ours. So let us see a poem by Kaalamegha Kavi about that Ekamreswar! When you say, only one mango, it sounds as though you have used some number that is even smaller than one! Come to think of it, in this poem under reference, all numbers mentioned are smaller than one!

88. The challenge by the other poets to Kaalamegham was, "Let us see you composing a poem in the style of a 'VeNbaa' about our Ekamreswar using fractions of one, such as 'mukkaal, araikkaal, kaal, iruma, makaNi, oruma, keezharai and so on!" Kaalamegham had the capability for what was known as 'Aasu Kavitvam', by the grace of Akhilandeswari. So he just rattled out a song before others who challenged him could complete their sentence! What he said was this:-
mukkaaluku egaamun munnarail vizhamun
akkala raikkaal kaN(du) anjaamun - vikki
irumaamun maakaaNikku egaamun kachchi
orumaavin keezharai inrodhu.

89. The poem contains all fractions from 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 and 1/128, which are the same as 'mukkaal, arai, kaal, araikkaal, iruma, maakaaNi, orumaa, keezharai respectively, but each one of those words for fractions, the poet used with a different meaning! It means that, "Before old age, diseases, fear of Yama and death over takes you, start praying to Kachchi Ekamreswara, from now itself. Do it to day!"

90. Now, let us look at the word by word meaning. 'Mukkaalukku egaa mun' = before you reach the age of having to rest on the third leg of a stick; (here the underlined 'mukkaal' is 3/4th). Next, 'mun arai yil veezhamun' = before your fore head is covered by gray hairs; (here the underlined 'arai' means 1/2). Then, 'akkaal araikkaal kaN(du)' has both kaal 1/4th and araikkaal 1/8th underlined and it means, 'before that 'Kaalan' the God of time and death's foot marks are seen'; that is before getting indications of the approach of death. In old age there is always cold which causes hiccups and cough. Hiccup is known as 'vikkal' and cough is known as 'irumal'. So, the next sentence says, 'vikki iruma mun', meaning, 'before you are too embroiled in hiccups and coughing; and the underlined iruma is 1/16th!

91. Next fraction to be used is 'maakaaNi', which is 1/32. In olden days, outside the village or township, a wide area of a 'kaaNi' was left for being used as the cremation ground, which was known as 'Rudra Bhoomi or Mayaanam', also known as 'maakaaNi'. Here the poet says, 'maakaaNikku egaamun' meaning, 'before you are taken to the maakaaNi for cremation'! Next two fractions is 'orumaa' or 1/64 and 'keezharai' or 1/128! Here the poet is using the meaning of 'orumaa' as the one mango tree; and 'keezharai' as the God who is residing under that one mango tree as 'keezh' = below and 'arai' = residing! To Him you pray to-day itself, 'inrodhu'! Read that para again to get the meaning clearly. You cannot but be flabbergasted and thrilled with awe and admiration for the poet who could compose that in a fraction of a second almost! Even now as I am telling you, after the passage of hundreds of years, the poem is fresh and lively! Through fractions of One, the poet takes us all to that 'One mango tree God', 'Ekamreswara'!

92. In Kanchipuram there are many temples of ancient origins. Kumbakonam is another place around which you can visit a temple a day and not finish the agenda in a years time. Penukonda in Andhra Pradesh is another place, where there are more than 365 temples. But not all of them are as ancient as Kanchipuram or Kumbakonam! Like the Siva temple of Ekaamreswara, we were talking about, there is Vishnu temple of yore. The Varadaraja Swami there is called 'PeraruLaaLa-PerumaaL', rather famous for His abundant Grace. There is a two word humorous anecdote about Him. There were two travellers halted in one of the choultries, meant for the visitors to stay.

93. One of the travellers was just knocking off for the night and took God's name in all devotion and said, "Kanchi Varadappa...!" There was another traveller lying nearby, who was hungry enough. He quickly got up and looked around. ('Kanchi' is short for Kanchipuram and 'Kanchi Varadappa' is just the Lord's name. But the word 'Kanchi' does sound like, 'Kanji' and it would mean a porridge made of rice.) Not finding anybody with the utensil for the porridge and ladle for its distribution, the hungry traveller made an enquiry, "Enga Varadappa?", to mean as to 'Where is that porridge? Where is it coming?'

94. In the centre of Kanchipuram is where Kamakchi has taken residence, like the Queen of the place. Relating that Ambal with not partaking that kanji/porridge, there is another song of double meaning! When you have a peripheral look at it, the meaning will be as under:- "Ambal Kamakchi will not drink that kanji; will not eat that food of Kambu, that is Raagi. Neither will she care for other varieties of vegetables or recipes! For the five headed Mr Snake Sir, She will become the sixth head! The poem makes hardly any sense, thus understood, at a cursory glance. Let me give you the text:-
kanji kudiyaale kambanchoru uNNaaLe
venchinangal onrum virumbaaLe - nenjuthanil
anjutalai aravaarkku aaru talai aavaaLe
kanja mukhak kaamaakshi kaaN

95. Kancha mukham will mean that she has a face like a lotus. She won't drink even the porridge or partake any other food. To some extent it sounds as though She is rather miserly. Having said some irrelevant details about Her and then suddenly before ending, if you say that she becomes the sixth head for the Snake, it all sounds rather childishly flippant! What does it all mean? If you think deeply, it will become clear to you, at least partially to those who know a bit of Tamil.

96. 'kanji kudiyaaL' = residing in Kanchipuram! 'kambanchoru uNNaaL' = She does not Partake the prasadam offered to Ekamreswara, called Ekambar and Kambar in Tamil slang. The concept is this. There are 108 Siva Temples in Kanchipuram. In none of them is there a 'sanctum sanctorum' for Ambal! As the Presiding deity, She is the only one in that Kanchipuram, having a seperate temple of Her own! Normally in all Siva temples, the prasadam is first offered to Siva and then offered to all other deities. Here in the Kamaakshi temple, prasadam is specially prepared for her only! (There is an exception in that, in Madurai for example, Ambal Meenakshi is offered the Prasadam which goes to Sundareswara only later! There they are co-located in the same temple.) So She does not partake of that, 'kambanchoru'!

97. 'vyanjanam' in Sanskrit means other items of the menu. The same word could mean in Tamil as 'venchinam', red hot anger! She is the very form of Love and Compassion. The very form of 'daya and kshamaa' that is, sympathy and forgiveness! She is never angry. She does not like being angry! So the poem goes, 'venchinangal onrum virumbaaLe'. Having said that, it is also a point to note that, 'She is offered plain cooked rice' without any sugar or salt or spices at the Kamakshi temple at Kanchipuram!

98. Finally about Her becoming the sixth head for the five headed Snake! Aravaar could mean Mr. Snake Esquire. But, it could also mean, the devotees of Siva the Hara. He is the Five Headed Hara, which are Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Isana, respectively. His devotees are 'Aravaar'. She gives the devotees of Siva the 'Arudal' the solace! Yet another interpretation is that , for those who feel fear in their hearts, (nenjudanil anjudalai arivaar = feeling fear in their hearts ), She gives the 'Aarudal' that is pacifying the fear, She gives solace! Read the poem again with this under current of meaning and you will also feel Her 'Aarudal', in your heart too!

(To be continued.)




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